When Nur Hakeem Bin Shaik Alaudin first started his aircon servicing company in 2020, he saw firsthand how the industry was plagued with numerous problems. From the lack of route optimization resulting in expensive fuel costs to vendors being bogged down by endless administrative tasks – these were problems accepted as a part and parcel of being in the industry.
Of all the problems, however, one particular problem was jarringly inefficient.
It was the acquisition process by which vendors and companies acquired and got matched to customers online.
Due to the competitive bidding process on online paid platforms, vendors were subjected to a system whereby they had to outbid each other to secure a customer.
This resulted in the skyrocketing of customer acquisition costs. To keep their business profitable, vendors have no choice but to pass on these expensive matching fees to customers.
“It was super expensive and also, highly volatile. The worst part of it all was that the one who was footing this expensive matching bill was the end consumer, unbeknownst to them of course.”, said Hakeem.
That was when it occurred to him that there had to be a better way and that was how the idea of ServiceBack.com, Singapore’s first home services and renovation platform with cashback came about.
The idea was simple: create a platform where consumers could come directly to hire home services such as aircon servicing, cleaning, and even renovation services while bypassing the expensive matching fees on paid platforms.
When customers go directly to ServiceBack.com and make a purchase, they get cashback from what would have otherwise been the expensive advertising and matching costs incurred by vendors. Customers can then use their cashback to offset their next home services booking.
“The cashback that customers get isn’t some gimmick to entice customers to book home services on ServiceBack.com. Customers understand and appreciate that they get up to $100 cashback into their e-wallet for bypassing expensive paid ads platforms, and in doing so, make it a more sustainable ecosystem for all,” says Hakeem.
Despite being less than a year old, the reception for ServiceBack.com so far has been great.
The startup has served more than 10,000 users, racking up more than 100 5-star reviews on Google and Facebook. They have also expanded their range of home services beyond just aircon servicing and cleaning.
Today, they offer a wide range of home services such as flooring, moving, painting, handyman, and even disinfection, with plans to add even more services to the platform in the coming months to better serve customers.
“We ensure good service quality by vetting and onboarding only reliable and experienced vendors while filtering out those who do not meet our high service standards. Since we act as an aggregator as well as quality control for vendors, customers only get the best that the industry has to offer,” says Hakeem.
Another unique feature of ServiceBack.com, besides their ala carte services, is bundled packages. Bundled packages consist of at least two services and are able to help consumers save up to 20% on the listed price. This is especially useful for cases where either the consumer has a combination of services that he requires, or when he already knows upfront what he will be needing for the year ahead.
Besides giving consumers cashback, bundles, and ensuring good and reliable home services, ServiceBack.com also is working towards making prices in the home services industry more standardized and transparent.
This is to help with a long-standing problem of “see-contractor-mood-how” kind of prices, whereby a technician, upon arriving and assessing the problem, gives the consumer a quote that is seemingly plucked out of thin air.
“Many of our customers can attest to being in a situation where they need something fixed. However, after the assessment from the technician, the verdict is then to either face an expensive quotation to fix the problem or pay the assessment fees. In the latter situation, they will have to incur another assessment fee from another vendor, and possibly face another high quotation.”
ServiceBack.com attempts to solve this by ensuring that the job scopes of each service are clearly written out and that prices are also clearly displayed on ServiceBack.com. By doing so, consumers are empowered to engage services with the assurance that they are not being taken advantage of.
With all these in place, Hakeem hopes to establish a new norm for the home services and renovation ecosystem, one where customers and vendors do not incur expensive matching fees. They are setting their sights on expanding into the region by the end of the year.